The San Francisco 49ers may be playing out the string the next two weeks, but they have a chance to impact the playoff race. The 49ers host the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals these final two weeks. They could deal a death blow to the Chargers playoff hopes, and they could impact the Cardinals chances at the No. 1 seed.
Although the 49ers are sitting at 7-7, people still recognize that this is an incredibly talented team (making this all so much more frustrating). Although the 49ers have nothing to play for, oddsmakers still think they can do some damage. The line for the 49ers matchup this Saturday with the Chargers has San Francisco installed as a 2.5-point favorite. Neither team is playing particularly well against the spread in recent weeks. The 49ers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games, while the Chargers are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games. The Chargers started the season covering the spread in five straight games, but have scuffled since then.
The 49ers face a Chargers squad that has lost two straight, and has been wildly inconsistent after a strong start to the season. They are dealing with some injuries that will impact them on Saturday. Inside linebacker Donald Butler will miss the game with a dislocated elbow. Keenan Allen was in a walking boot after Sunday's game, and had an MRI on his ankle on Monday. The Chargers run game has been fairly minimal to date. If Chris Borland is out, they might try and force some things, but I think for the most part we can expect to see a lot of Philip Rivers through the air.
The 49ers could play the spoiler, but with losses in their final two games, the 49ers could improve their draft positioning. The 49ers currently hold the 16th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. They will be at the back of the pack for whatever their win total is due to strength of schedule. However, there is room to move up these next two weeks with timely losses. I won't be rooting for them to lose, but I can live with the benefits of two more losses.